Thailand boat sinking: At least 21 confirmed dead

Geraldine Edwards
July 7, 2018

Most of the passengers on the larger vessel, a diving boat named the Phoenix, were Chinese tourists, according to Thai authorities.

PHUKET, Thailand -The Harbour Department announced at 1.26 p.m.

A Thai Tourist Police boat prepares to dock at Chalong pier in Phuket on Jul 6, 2018, as rescue operations continue nearby for missing tourists following a boating accident on Jul 5.

Meanwhile the Phuket Public Relations department have confirmed that 21 bodies have been recovered from the area surrounding where the Phoenix sunk. Many tour operators have complained about lax enforcement of basic safety measures, such as seatbelts in cars and lifejackets on boats.

At the time of the capsize, the tourist boat was carrying 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew members and a tour guide.

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Thai rescuers pulled 28 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on Friday after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. The company will be responsible for paying compensation for the injured and the killed and other costs which may incur.

Some of the bodies were found by divers who entered the wreck Friday and others were floating in the water, said navy official Narong Aurabhakdi.

Fifty-six passengers remain unaccounted for after the Phoenix went down on Thursday afternoon, after being battered by five metre (15-feet) high storm waves.

Rescued passengers of capsized tourist boat rest at a port facility in Phuket on July 5, 2018.

The accidents came as rescuers, also led by Thai navy divers, support 12 boys and their soccer coach stranded almost two weeks inside a flooded cave in the country's far north, and try to determine how and when to extract them.

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Chinese tourists make up the biggest number of foreign visitors to Thailand.

Dramatic pictures from the scene show people being rescued from one of the boats in large rubber life-rafts, with fishing boats and rough water in the background. Wearing life jackets, the survivors were then moved to the deck of what appeared to be a fishing trawler.

"We have sent boats to help", Rear Admiral Somnuk Prempramote, commander of the Royal Thai Navy Region 3.

Severe weather is forecast in the area until next Tuesday.

He said officials would consider whether to ban boats from going to sea during strong winds.

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It said that second boat had lost power after being swamped by waves, while all on-board were returned safely to shore.

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